Local woman nominated for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Woman of the Year
By Elizabeth Sias
A local woman has been nominated as a candidate for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man & Woman of the Year Campaign, and she’s looking to the community for support in raising funds.
The team Gayle Augustson formed, Banking on a Cure, is part of the fundraising campaign for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Minnesota, or LLS. They are raising funds to help fight against blood cancers in both children and adults.
She and eight other candidates—a total of seven women and two men—will compete against each other in an aggressive 10-week fundraising campaign. Whichever man and woman raise the most at the end will be crowned Man & Woman of the Year.
The campaign kicked off on April 4 and culminates June 15 with the Grand Finale Gala. Banking on a Cure includes Augustson’s daughter-in-law Dana Moore and Moore’s mother Maxine Haugen, as well as their families.
“I have two goals. To cure blood cancers—leukemia for kids. That one really hits my heart,” Augustson said. “And I also hope very much to instill in my granddaughters the idea to help other people and fundraise and get that giving spirit.”
The team has already been busy planning fundraising events to help Augustson win—their goal is to raise $25,000, which will go entirely to support LLS’s mission to find a cure for blood cancers and to improve the quality of life of patients and their families.
Augustson may already have instilled the spirit of giving in her granddaughters. On April 14, 9-year-old Annah and 12-year-old Angel ran a car wash and bake sale in Ham Lake. And the girls came up with the idea to sell suckers in school.
“Angel said to me, ‘Grandma, it doesn’t matter if we win—it’s going for a good cause,’” Haugen said.
“They’re getting an experience out of this that they’ll always remember,” Augustson added.
On Sunday, May 6, the Mystery Mountain Boys will perform at Spring Lake Lutheran Church in North Branch, with proceeds to go toward LLS.
The team has also planned a 5K Fun Run/Walk, called “5K for a Cure” at 9:30 a.m. May 19 at Sandquist Family Park in Cambridge. Online registration is $25.
In order to be a candidate for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man & Woman of the Year Campaign, a person has to be nominated by someone affiliated with the organization.
Augustson was nominated by a previous candidate, Melissa Abdough, who ran for four years. The two met through Abdough’s campaign last year.
Augustson was diagnosed with lymphoma in January 2009. She had been feeling very sick and weak, and eventually Haugen convinced her to go to the emergency room. After many tests, she learned she had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“It was a big shock,” she said. “But the long and short of it is that I’m one of the fortunate ones because with lymphoma, you don’t treat until you absolutely have to. They call it ‘watch and wait.’”
She hasn’t had any treatment yet, but she sees her oncologist regularly to monitor. After her diagnosis, on a car and bike run, she met Abdough. They stayed in touch, and eventually Abdough nominated Augustson. And that’s how Banking on a Cure formed.
“It affects so many more people than anyone realizes,” Augustson said. “The research is moving and advancing so quickly. If we could just get more money and let them do more research … They’re so close to finding a cure.”
How to help:
Help support the team by sending a tax-deductible donation. Checks made payable to LLS can be mailed to Maxine Haugen at 5526 Peterson Trail, Cambridge, MN 55008. Donate online at www.mn.mwoy.llsevent.org/gayle.
Join the team Sunday, May 6, when the Mystery Mountain Boys will perform at Spring Lake Lutheran Church in North Branch, with proceeds going toward LLS.
The team has also planned a 5K Fun Run/Walk, called “5K for a Cure” at 9:30 a.m. May 19 at Sandquist Family Park in Cambridge. Register online at www.5kforacure.zapevent.com.